Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

NC Gay Bashings Alarm Wilmington and Greensboro

Chaz Housand shows gay bashing injuries (Paul Stephen photo for StarNewsOnline)

Chaz Housand shows gay bashing injuries (Paul Stephen photo for StarNewsOnline)

Wilmington, NC – Protesters are calling for hate crime protection for the LGBT community in New Hanover County, the heart of Coastal Carolina country, after two gay men were brutally beaten unconscious last month.  Three men shouting anti-gay slurs attacked Chaz Housand and Chet Saunders as they walked out of the door of a popular Front Street bar in the early morning of July 17, according to witnesses at the scene. StarNewsOnline reports that just after 2 a.m., witnesses flagged down a police officer to tell him that two young men had been beaten.  Both Housand, 22, and Saunders, also 22, had no recollection of the attack.  “The last thing I remember,” Housand told reporter Dave Reynolds, “I was walking out of the door.  Then I remember waking up in the hospital.”  The only thing the victims can think motivated the attack was their sexual orientation.  The recollection of the eyewitnesses, and the severity of the wounds inflicted on the two gay men seem to substantiate that suspicion.  According to the police incident report, a witness remembered one of the suspected attackers shouting, “This is our town!” as he struck Housand and Saunders.  Three suspects were arrested by the police in short order and charged with the assault: Jong Tae Chung, 27; Melvin Lee Spicer, 25; and Daniel Minwoo Lee, 21.  While North Carolina does not have a hate crime law that covers sexual orientation, District Attorney Ben David told Star News that a judge may very well increase the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony in light of the brutality of the attack and the extensive injuries sustained by the victims.  Bones in Housand’s face were broken and he suffered deep cuts above his eye and around his mouth.  Saunders suffered a concussion and internal bruising, and he has still not recovered the motor skills needed to use a knife and a fork to feed himself as of July 27. Housand, who had been celebrating his birthday with his friend just before the attack, told reporters that as a university student, he had been involved in social action to change North Carolina’s hate crimes statute to include sexual orientation, but never imagined he would be personally involved in a hate crime.  Public Radio, WHQR FM, reports that the downtown beating last month ignited protests by LGBT people and straight allies outside the New Hanover County Courthouse August 24.  Outraged by the bashing, locals are calling on the state to protect LGBT citizens.  Some in the LGBT community are convinced that the attack was hate-motivated due to the hallmark overkill of the assault.  Lynn Casper, one of the courthouse protesters, said that everything about the bashing indicates that it was about homophobia, and gay people in Wilmington are frightened.  “I’ve heard a lot of people talk in the queer community,” Casper told reporters.  “They’re a lot more scared now.”  Wilmington, the largest city on the Carolina coast, is no stranger to anti-LGBT murder.  Lesbian Talana Quay Kreeger, 32, was manually disemboweled by a trucker in 1990.  Tab Ballis, a local documentary filmmaker, is working to complete a film telling her story, called “Park View.” Now, LGBT people across the Tarheel State are worried that bias crimes against anyone perceived to be gay are on the rise.  In Greensboro, the largest city in the Piedmont, a 25-year-old Pilot Mountain man was attacked on July 4 by a group of young men yelling anti-gay epithets.  Matt Comer of Q Notes reports that the as-yet unidentified victim was merely thought to be gay by his assailants who targeted him as he left a popular gay night club with two gay friends.  The victim was struck on the back of the head and knocked to the ground.  His friends ran to find help.  Greensboro Police have arrested Tyren Hassan McNeill, 25, and charged him with felony aggravated assault.

August 26, 2009 - Posted by | Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, Mistaken as LGBT, North Carolina, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

  1. […] to repeat their call for the passage of hate crimes protection for LGBT North Carolinians.  Chaz Housand and Chet Saunders were beaten outside a popular bar on Front Street in Wilmington after celebrating their […]

    Pingback by Protest Calls for Passage of NC Hate Crimes Protections for LGBT Tarheels « Unfinished Lives | September 11, 2009

  2. I am now not certain where you are getting your info, however good topic. I must spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thank you for excellent info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

    Comment by overcoming anxiety naturally | November 25, 2011

  3. This is awful! How much you wanna bet that these “gay bashers” wanna call themselves doing the right thing for humanity and of course their town, how ignorant of them!! These ppl who do things like this, i bet their ancesters beat blacks, didn’t want womens rights, nor any change that would make them feel like they were no longer the ‘best” or in charge of everyone else.These ppl always seem to think they have something to prove to themselves. They always think they are right on every issue.

    Comment by Alice Masterson | April 24, 2012


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: